Sunday, October 9, 2011

Finding the One: 101

Aside from all the regurgitated advice we usually hear regarding finding The One like “give it to God” and “just trust and pray” (which I do agree with, by the way) , I’ve been wanting to talk about the part of the dating equation that I think humans are responsible for…..practical steps to meeting  the right person that gives God some room to work.  Why do I think this scenario isn’t all up to God?  It's not that God can't orchestrate a meeting for you at any given time, but I believe he's chosen to work on earth in midst of human free will which means there are things singles CAN do to create more situations for God to work in that will increase their odds of meeting (and sometimes recognizing) a suitable match.   (From someone who is passionate about healthy relationships and loves to match-make but also from someone who also was single longer than she wanted to be and who is not exempt from the painful experiences of deep anguish and longing that prolonged singleness can bring.) 

NUMBER ONE.  Learn to WANT what you NEED in a mate.  Doing this gives God something to work with and room to surprise you with the extras He knows you’ll love.    Translation:  Hoping and wishing for Brad Pitt with Jesus’ character or Pamela Anderson who has the insides of Mother Teresa doesn’t leave God a lot of room to work.  Why?  Because if heaven were on earth, there wouldn’t be a need for earth or a separate heaven.   AKA: Get realistic about human beings, their flaws, capabilities, positive attributes, and short comings and then ask God to bring you someone who has the attributes you need in a mate.  My experience when I chose to take this approach was God surprised me with throwing in a bunch of extras and bonuses that only He could know I love.

How does one determine what they need?  For a good place to start answer these questions: Do you enjoy talking to that person because that person “gets you”  (appreciates your quirks and passions) and gets your sense of humor?  Does that person help you to grow closer to God and more solid in your walk with Christ?  Do you have good long term and short term compatibility? Good compatibility doesn’t need to be an exact match, only a good balance or a complimentary balance between the two of you.   

NUMBER TWO.  For some reason it seems like the people who are unrealistic in their preferences for a mate, often don’t seem to have a good reality grasp on what they bring to the equation either.   The fact is, more often then not, women put more weight on their lifemate decision on whether or not they feel emotionally safe with a man.  Which means: men, you have to become her friend first and win her heart!  And, news flash!  Because of this (men), you have a decent chance of winning her heart even if you don’t look like Brad Pitt!  On the flip side, more often than not, men prefer to marry “up” or they marry women they think are out of their league.  Men are hunters, they like to chase and they can’t chase something that is not chaseable and they don’t want to chase someone they’re not attracted to.  So ladies, you have to ask yourself: What men *might* find themselves attracted to me?  And what do I realistically have to offer someone?  I say more often then not in this situation because yes! There ARE exceptions.  But my questions is, do you want to wait to be an exception which may never happen for you or do you want to try to give yourself better odds of meeting the right person?  It’s up to you.

NUMBER THREE.  Dating is like Job Hunting in the current recession: many times it comes down to a numbers game.  Send your resume out (Go on a lot of dates or start up conversations with as many people on as you think there might be potential).  The fact is, employers (like people you’re looking to date) are doing the same-- hoping to find the right match.   The more applications and interviews employers have to review, the closer they are to finding the right match.  The more dates, conversations, or people you have available to meet, the closer you are to meeting the right match.

NUMBER FOUR.  Don’t put your chips in before you look at your cards.   Translation: Nobody should be allowed to enter anyone’s heart quickly.  Especially if you don’t let platonic relationships into your life, heart, & vulnerable places quickly, why should you let someone you’re interested in do that?  The fact is, I think people should have to prove themselves to you over time to be able to occupy an important part of your life.  Don’t let your deep desire to meet the right person overrule your common sense.  Try your best to keep dating in the first couple of months to light conversation topics.   Exes, past therapy sessions, and addictions should be kept out of the conversation in the first couple of months.   Protect yourself, because if you don’t, often times the person leaves as fast as they came along and then you’re left feeling even more vulnerable.  :(

NUMBER FIVE.  Commit to physical purity before marriage. Aside from the fact that God tells us to, the same reasons listed under number 4 are applicable here BUT one issue this creates that I don’t think is talked about enough is....How can Christians can get their need for physical touch (not sexual touch) met in this difficult situation?  You might be someone (like me) who loves physical touch but cuddling with your mom might be too weird or your friends and family may not be touchy-feely enough, but you still have this need (extreme for some people) to have physical closeness with another human being.   This is far more common than is talked about and I think it makes sexual contact even MORE of a temptation before marriage.   My thoughts: hug people a lot and think of ways to get that need met in a healthy, non-sexual way.  For me, weekly foot & back massages ($20/for a hour at Bali Foot Spa) was a great solution.